Guest Blog: DEER Digital
20 August 2013
Responsive Web Design
Scott Graham, Managing Director: DEER Digital
One of the great things about working in digital media is the pace of change. Whenever a new industry-wide issue comes up, it’s often resolved in a matter of months – not years.
When smartphones took a foothold in the market, web designers were having to advise clients that they faced a considerable outlay – a site for each device in some cases. Clients voted with their wallets and many, many businesses simply avoided having a mobile-friendly site due to those costs as well as the pitfalls of maintaining multiple versions of a site.
This slowed down the consumer appetite for mobile web browsing, but as always, economics drove change and those global companies that had the budgets, proved that catering for the mobile market increased sales.
It was 2010 when the theory of Responsive Web Design (RWD) was first mooted. The principle was that a single page should be built with flexibility to ‘collapse’ appropriately when viewed at different sizes. This meant that it didn’t matter what device you were using – it was the size of your browser window that mattered. Site owners were suddenly able to modify existing sites and maintain one code base to give a better experience to their customers across a wide range of devices.
Shortly after, W3C, the group that governs web standards, included the required elements in their guidelines and RWD became a ‘must-have’ for every new site. It was an affordable, clean solution that allowed hardware manufacturers to keep diversifying and innovating, without leaving the consumer behind.
We built IFB’s new site responsively and most of the new sites we build have this as standard. If RWD hadn’t been an option, we might still be producing device-specific websites and maintaining a lot of code (laboriously!) The cost of doing that would mean that many of our clients would abandon their mobile users and if that was magnified industry-wide then mobile web browsing would still be a bit ‘hit and miss’. In turn, take up of tablets and smartphones, would not have been as swift.
So next time you are watching a film with your tablet in front of you, trying to find out if the guy on the left really is that bloke from Neighbours, thank RWD for the privilege.
Scott Graham is Managing Director of DEER/digital in Aberdeen and they produce effective, responsive websites for B2B clients around the world, including IFB.net.
IFB are running a series of guest blogs from various industries to see how technology impacts their working lives.